Another Entrepreneurship Project of the  Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

Preventing Burnout: Yes, it can be done!

When referring to ‘burnout’ we’re talking about
business burnout: the ultimate in exhaustion that an individual or company can face. Caused by many different factors (such as stress, number of hours spent at work, or an isolated work environment) it’s important to have a healthy balance between work and life. College-aged students may be able to pull all-nighters cramming for an exam, but when it comes to a business, it’s not practical for an individual to work so much that they get burned out. Not only could burnout affect the physical health of an individual, but the business could be negatively affected as well.

The following is a combination of tips and tricks to avoid burnout shared by Yahoo’s newest CEO (and mom-to-be), Marissa Mayer, and Susan Martin, owner of Business Sanity. Every individual has different preferences, and a person can’t reasonably do everything on this list, but utilizing your favorite combination of these items may help you to prevent burnout and stay focused!

Monitor signs of resentment: If you start to feel exhausted, cynical or discouraged, you may be heading towards burnout; once you recognize the signs, you can start to re-incorporate personal elements of your lifestyle that make you happy and relaxed so you can restore your energy

Find your rhythm: Your rhythm is the activity that restores your energy; something that is essential to your personal happiness (perhaps it’s running three miles a day, or getting eight hours of sleep each night); if you start neglecting this ‘rhythm’ of work and your ‘one thing’ it could lead to burnout

Give employees one must-have freedom: Because a person can’t have every single thing that they want, make sure you know what each employee’s rhythm is, and make sure that they are able to adhere to it; if you’re a solo entrepreneur, the same rules apply — making time for that one item will empower a person to work hard during the week, knowing that their personal rhythm is not being compromised by the job

Take care of yourself: Most people can identify when they’re feeling burned out; take extra care of your health by getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy, relaxing and spending time with family and friends

Manage your time: Harder than it seems, it’s important for individuals to properly manage their time on a daily basis; keep a calendar and schedule meetings, appointments, and personal priorities (and stick to it!); this will help you to get tasks accomplished in real time and will help keep you on track to maintain your rhythm outside of work as well

Make the time to do nothing: During a typical workday, most people don’t take regular breaks; it is important to keep regular hours and take a break at least once during the day; taking vacation time is also important to avoiding burnout (sometimes you need to be away from the office to re-charge and re-energize, which will in turn help your work productivity to increase!)

Think outside the box: Day-to-day tasks can get tedious — to avoid boredom, be innovative and find new ways to do routine tasks; brainstorm ways that your business can enhance its services, or try to design a new product; stimulating your mind will help to keep you invigorated and active!

Each individual’s level at which they burnout is different; find your rhythm and identify in- and out-of-office activities that help alleviate stress. Make time for those activities, and you will most likely be happier in the workplace and on your way to a great relationship with your job!

For the complete stories about ways you can help prevent burnout, visit: and

Have you ever experience burnout? What are some of the ways that you prevent burnout?

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!


  1. About a year and a half ago I risked also burning out and I had people tell me to be careful. It’s very true that forming a routine and also scheduling time to do nothing really helped me personally not to burn out.

    • wisesyracuse August 15, 2012 Reply

      Great idea, Stephanie! WISE is glad you didn’t burn out — keep entrepreneur-ing!

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